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Local Graduate Enriches Food Scene in Southern California

Local Graduate Enriches Food Scene in Southern California

Jessica Sackler, 29, an Amity High School graduate who grew up in Woodbridge, was recently named among Zagat’s “30 under 30” list of innovative young hospitality entrepreneurs in the San Francisco Bay area. Sackler, who holds a Master’s in Management of Hospitality from Cornell University, recently partnered with two restaurateurs to open their first eatery in Oakland, California, called Calavera, which serves traditional Mexican foods with a modern twist. “Eclectic, exciting, vibrant,” that’s how restaurant critic Jackie Burrell described the new eatery in the San Jose Mercury News in September.

Within a week of it opening, Calavera had hosted the mayor of San Francisco, the mayor of Oakland and California Governor Jerry Brown, said her father, Mark Sackler. He and his wife Cheryl traveled west for the opening last August. The Sacklers still live in Woodbridge.

“Sackler …has her hands in everything each night, from tasting the margaritas to fielding feedback from guests,” Zagat describes her work. “She’s also behind Calavera’s innovative wine program that seeks to change everything you know about pairing Mexican food with wine.”

Jessica Sackler graduated from Amity High School in 2004, then enrolled in the University of Connecticut where she graduated in 2008 before she joined the Masters program at Cornell. Sackler was a restaurant manager for celebrity chef Jose Andres in Washington, DC and Michael Chiarello in San Francisco before she dove into her latest venture.

Pictured (l-r) is the Sackler family: Jessica with her father Mark and mother Cheryl at the opening of the new restaurant in Oakland, California.

By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent

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